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Arsenal vs. Chelsea, Premier League: Half-time report

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The first 45 minutes at the Emirates have come and gone. The opening half between Chelsea and Arsenal began at a frantic pace with both sides in the mood to attack. The first major talking point in the match came early when Willian threaded a ball behind the Arsenal back line for Diego Costa to run onto. The Spaniard was in on goal before being taken down by Per Mertesacker, a challenge that saw the defender sent off in the 18th minute.

Arsene Wenger reacted by taking his main goal threat, Olivier Giroud, off the pitch. The sub didn't work as the Blues took advantage just a few minutes after the red card. A Branislav Ivanovic cross was met by a perfect near post run by Costa, and Chelsea found themselves up a man and a goal just 22 minutes into the match.

Arsenal finally got into the match after half hour mark, but never really threatened Thibaut Courtois's goal. A few half chances fell their way, but their inability to stay onside was a reprieve for Chelsea. The majority of the half was played in the Arsenal end both before and after the dismissal. The Blues had one last chance to extend their lead, but Ivanovic had a header cleared off the line from a corner kick. The last chance of the half came with the last kick of the half and it was the Gunners's best. Mathieu Flamini's flick over the bar from a wide open position in front of goal will give something for the Chelsea back line to think about during the break.

All is left to play for in this one. With a man advantage and a 1-0 lead, Chelsea will have to be expecting the full three points at the end of the day.

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